The composite index of leading economic indicators slid 0.5% in August, the Conference Board reported yesterday.

LEI decreased an unrevised 0.7% in July.

The coincident index was down 0.1% after a flat July, originally reported as a 0.1% slip, while the lagging index was up 0.4% after a 0.4% jump in July.

The LEI stands at 100.8, the coincident index is 106.5 and the lagging index is at 112.6.

Economists polled by IFR Markets predicted LEI would be off 0.2% in the month.

“The good news on lower gas prices is more than offset by renewed, even intensified, financial market turmoil,” according to the Conference Board labor economist Ken Goldstein. “The economy right now is so slow that it doesn’t have much cushion for shocks like the recent bailouts and bankruptcies. The economy is struggling to find a bottom and eventually begin to gather momentum for a recovery.

“Financial market turmoil complicates the process, limiting access to credit. The indicators show little reason to expect better economic conditions over the next few months. We may not see any signs of improvement until well into the second half of 2009. Until then, a very slow economy is the most positive expectation.”

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